From the BlogContact Me Now

In Business, Make It About The Relationship First

biz-relationship.jpgA couple of days back I was speaking with a client of mine. She’s a life coach who wants to know better how to use the web (and soon her blog) to increase her marketing reach and, ultimately, her business.

We spent the better part of an hour talking about how a blog, when used well, can become a hub for creating buzz about her business. But as we talked, I could sense there was something I wasn’t communicating clearly enough for her to understand.

She was focusing on how her blog would get her in front of so many more people than her static website and how those people would “just convert to clients.”

Of course it doesn’t just work like that. People don’t just become clients for no reason. And just because we’re blogging doesn’t mean our business will grow.

So I asked her to describe how she’d write a blog post to me. She said she’d simply write about what she does, how she helps people and what problems she can solve. She knew from our previous conversations that she wanted to use her blog to build conversation with her readers. And she was clear that she needed to followup with her commenters.

It all sounds pretty good, right? But something was missing for me. Then I asked her what the point of having the conversation in the comment box with her readers. She told me to convert them to clients. So I asked her, “do you see your readers and commenters as prospects?” Her answer was, “Certainly!”

So I asked her, “What about you, your family, your life…are you planning to share any of that through your blog?”

“Why would I,” she responded? “I don’t want them to focus on my life, I want them to do business with me.”

Ah, now my fog was lifted. I knew what she meant – that she wants to use her blog to draw perspective clients that she can then interact with and convert them into clients. But she was unknowingly leaving something out…the relationship.

Sure, there’s lots of ways to market your business using your blog. How I use mine is to build relationships with people. I don’t see you, someone reading my blog, as a reader (though I’ve used the term) nor a prospect. Rather, I see you as a person; someone who has some interest in what I have to say. Hence, I have interest in getting to know who you are. That’s fertile soil for a relationship.

So I share with my client how I’ve found relationships to be the key to growing my business successfully over the years. I’ve learned that when I let the relationship lead the way, the business end of things takes care of itself. I’m not talking about relationships over business. I’m talking about the relationship part of business leading the way.

That’s one way I’ve found conversational blogging to be so powerful. The comment box creates a space for us to have a conversation. Over time, that conversation can lead to a relationship. Some of those relationships can be acquaintances, some friendships, and some business relationships. And each on different levels that grow organically.

When I shared all this with my client (we went over our hour), she got it. Not only did she get it, she was invigorated by the potential to touch people. And while she wasn’t, yet, completely clear how to ‘lead with the relationship,’ she had a sense of how it worked.

So how has blogging helped you create conversations that have led to relationships? What type of relationships have you built? And how have those relationships benefitted your business?

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Comments

  1. David Drake says:

    Dawud,

    In coaching terminology, you helped her make an important distinction. Ironically, even though we as coaches know that the power of our work is in the relationship with our clients, not so much in our knowledge or techniques, we sometimes forget his wisdom in running our business. I really appreciated your insights about this. You’ve been very helpful as I start out with my new blog.
    David

  2. Sarah Kimmel says:

    I totally agree!! I originally started to blog as a way of driving traffic to my main buisness page. I also wanted to give my readers valuable information to help them! I have noticed though that I don’t even look at how many clicked on the main page from my blog… I just get excited to see comments! Excellent post! Also, congrats on the new baby!

  3. Many people tends to know the real value of blog.It seems that your friend just want to create blog to
    develop her business without creating relationship. I think blog is not building business only but creating relationship because in that way you can create prospective clients in the future in terms of referrals.

  4. You know what stood out the most for me in the whole post?

    we went over our hour

    Know why? You are demonstrating exactly what you’re talking about!

    I LOVE blogging because of the relationships. It’s the best part! Writing the post is ok, but it’s the conversations on my own and other blogs that’s the fun part for me. I talk with people all over the world, from here in the U.S. to Canada, the UK, Japan, Australia… they are just a quick click away. I’ve never met them in person, but I would sure miss them if they were gone and I’ve learned a lot from them on the subjects they write about.

  5. I feel that readers of blogs are looking to gain knowledge. They are reading the blog because it is about a topic that is of some interest to them.

    After gaining that reader’s confidence in what it is the author has to say (on a regular basis), that is when the reader would be more inclined to ask for their professional services.

  6. referate,
    For my client, it might seem that way. But her intention is in the right place. She just forgot something she already knows to do.

    The example of how I went about leading her to the relationship piece is how I work with clients. I let them walk to their own solutions – I’m just there to guide. The great thing about this is they then get to own what ultimately they’ve learned from me – which makes them independent of me.

    David,
    I think that’s true even of consultants. The reason, a client has to believe in the guide. If not, they won’t follow. So getting clients to believe if you as a coach comes down to qualities such as trust, communication, likeability…oh, that’s a relationship.

    Sarah,
    Me too. I’m much more interested in the conversations and where they lead than I am how many people are visiting. And yet I know there’s a large number who lurk.

    Have you done anything to encourage lurkers to comment?

    LaurenMarie,
    Yeah, it’s amazing isn’t it. And I just had a regular reader from South Africa email me to schedule a consult. The great thing is we already have a rapport through the comment box.

    RJacobsen,
    I totally agree. The reason blogging works is that it give the power back to the reader. They get to decide who, what, where and when they want to interact with business owners.

  7. Well, clearly, I’ve done everything backwards :-)

    I started blogging to find my voice and connect. I am so promo-averse (sad, for an entrepreneur) that I marvel at how anyone can combine blogging and, um, salesmanship. The way, say, *you* do, Dawud. You share info and start conversations, and almost incidentally, it’s good for business.

    On the other hand, I have a very strong sense that my blogging is helping to build my brand. Articulating what the hell that is is another story–actually, a story I’ve taken to my readers, in a recent post. The feedback has been gratifying in many ways, and the process so fascinating.

  8. Communicatrix,
    That’s the beauty of blogging, I feel…it serves different people’s needs differently.

    What you’re doing on communicatrix isn’t that far from what I’m doing here. I’m just writing more directly about what I do for a living while you’re sharing more about who ‘the communicatrix’ is as a person. But I don’t really see any difference because they both lead to an end – relationship.

    Let’s not forget I know you (and we’ve worked together) because I found your blog. Now the possibilities are endless. But it’s all because of your blog.

  9. Hi Dawud, and a belated congratulations on the new arrival :-)

    Thanks for sharing the conversation and perspective about readers, prospects, clients… and relationships.

    I like the idea of focusing on the people, and the relationships, and trusting that the rest will follow.

    In my own (fairly recent) experience blogging has led to a range of different relationships – some friendships, some blogging partnerships, some business focused – clients, trading relationships, new business ideas that we’re working on together, oh and some freelance blogging which I’m doing with the Business Blog Angel :-)

    I could never have anticipated all of that when I started, nor would it have been healthy to blog (write, link, comment, connect) with all of that in mind. Letting it unfold is much more fun…

    Best wishes

    Joanna

  10. Joanna,
    Thanks so much. We’re tired, but surviving.

    I keep saying again and again that people don’t do business with businesses, they do business with people. If you see it that way, then the relationship is paramount. So why not focus on the relationship first and the business that can develop from the relationship second?

  11. I could not post my comment yesterday due to error 403 which you have now resolved.

    Let us take our relationship. By caring for what I post, commenting on it and asking for clarifications etc, you have established a very sound relationship with me. You have also shared your personal life with us and I am sure that a lot of your visitors would agree with me when I say that it has been a fantastic experience.

    I intend coming to this site as often as I can irrespective of whether you or I make money out of it. That was the original idea behind blogging and you are a kind of torch bearer as it were.

    Perhaps your client could be asked to visit your blog and read the comments. From my consultancy experience, I can suggest one observation to you. People who appear to listen do not always implement what you ask them to. Particularly if it is NIH (Not Invented Here)

  12. In everything we do, we need to build a relationship with the people around us, and by building that relationship we gain friends and respect that help us to be good in our own businesses.

  13. Home Recording,
    You’re making my point for me. It’s all about relationships. Why else blog? Wait, don’t answer that.

    My client really means well, she’s just struggling with getting her mind around how to use social media and how it’s different than traditional marketing. Yet, this distinction is an important one because social media is changing the way people look for and do business. It’s like a revolution – really – just it’s coming slowly.

    And I don’t care if we ever share in a money making venture either. Ultimately, that’s not why I’m blogging…it’s just one of the perks.

    Yet, have you met bloggers that you’ve built relationships with who have turned into some sort of business relationship?

    Chay,
    Exactly. Why do you think more business owners don’t see it that way?

  14. To be honest with you, no not yet but, I intend to start with you sooner than later. My blog now is a non monetized one and I intend launching one commercial one soon. I am working on the content, format, name etc and funnily enough, your blog today, comes as a manna from heaven! I shall comment on that there, but, thanks for this very nice response.

  15. Edward Lohmann says:

    I too am baffled by this phenomenon of blogging. I am a Realtor and though I am not exactly dumb I am at a loss how to start a blogg to ultimately cultivate clients, but also to start a website that is simple….no-nonsense and to the pointe. Although I have read a lot about blogging I need that initial push….any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Ed

  16. I’ve just recently built a lot of blogs for customers. I agree that building a good relationship is vitally important. I now have an expanded business and they’re asking me for more work!

  17. Dawud,

    I think a lot of owners only focus on how to market thier business, without thinking the people around them, they just want to sell thier products.

  18. Dawud,

    I think a lot of owners only focus on how to market their business, without thinking the people around them, they just want to sell their products.

  19. Home Recording,
    Hey, I’m just happy to help out. Let me know how I can further.

    Edward,
    My advice…contact me for a free 25-minute consultation. No strings attached – really. I’ll give you everything I have in our time on the phone. Then I leave it to you to decide whether you’d like to explore working together.

    James,
    Exactly. That’s what happens. I’ve had the same experience as well. What do you think has been the biggest difference for you between a static website and your blog?

    chay
    Yes! Yes! Yes! You nailed it. There’s tons of ways to market and sell products. Yet most of them are about me – the business owner. A handful are about the ubiquitous ‘target market.’ And almost none are about building relationships first. But you’ve got to read this post I wrote to see how relationship marketing really works.

  20. If we love our work then our work will also love us. Just like blogging if we tend to love blogging then it will surely show and many people will like our blog and also blogging is not just creating business and prospective clients but also developing relationship and friendship from all people reading our blog and in such way we can not only benefit from it but in a long run we can gain prospective clients as well.

  21. Inchirieri,
    So true. I think it’s very important to remember our own experiences as consumers; what we’ve liked or not liked. Then we can correct those same issues in our own business.

  22. I feel that readers of blogs are looking to gain knowledge. They are reading the blog because it is about a topic that is of some interest to them.

    After gaining that reader’s confidence in what it is the author has to say (on a regular basis), that is when the reader would be more inclined to ask for their professional services

  23. oyun,
    I’ve seen that marketing, whether with a blog, a website, an ezine, a mailer, etc is all about gaining people’s trust. I’ve said again and again that people do business with people, not businesses. That’s why the relationship is critical.

  24. Dawud,

    I think a lot of owners only focus on how to market their business, without thinking the people around them, they just want to sell their products.

  25. Many people tends to know the real value of blog.It seems that your friend just want to create blog to
    develop her business without creating relationship. I think blog is not building business only but creating relationship because in that way you can create prospective clients in the future in terms of referrals.

  26. Inchirieri,
    So true. I think it’s very important to remember our own experiences as consumers; what we’ve liked or not liked. Then we can correct those same issues in our own business.

  27. I think a lot of owners only focus on how to market their business, without thinking the people around them, they just want to sell their products

  28. çocuk,
    I see that everyday as I poke around the web. Yet, there’s a better, more effective way.

    bedava,
    Isn’t creating prospects a part of building business?

    oyunlar,
    Without a doubt. It can only enhance your business interactions if you remember that. Great point.

    tatil,
    True. But this is going to get harder and harder as we move forward. Interrupting people’s lives doesn’t work any more. Neither does one-sided business relationships. Now it’s just a matter of time until this is seen on a mass scale.

  29. So true. I think it’s very important to remember our own experiences as consumers; what we’ve liked or not liked. Then we can correct those same issues in our own business.

  30. çocuk,
    And our friend’s experiences as well.

  31. Isn’t creating prospects a part of building business?

  32. Joanna,
    Thanks so much. We’re tired, but surviving.

    I keep saying again and again that people don’t do business with businesses, they do business with people

  33. Communicatrix,
    That’s the beauty of blogging, I feel…it serves different people’s needs differently.

    What you’re doing on communicatrix isn’t that far from what I’m doing here. I’m just writing more directly about what I do for a living while you’re sharing more about who ‘the communicatrix’ is as a person. But I don’t really see any difference because they both lead to an end – relationship.

    Let’s not forget I know you (and we’ve worked together) because I found your blog. Now the possibilities are endless. But it’s all because of your blog.

  34. Dawud,

    I totally agree with you.. Just ignore the selling point at the beginning. Just work on building trust and relationship.. The rest will come..

  35. thanks Dawud,
    In everything we do, we need to build a relationship with the people around us, and by building that relationship we gain friends and respect that help us to be good in our own businesses.

  36. I’ve recently built a lot of blogs for customers. I agree that building a good relationship is vitally important. I now have an expanded business and they’re asking me for more work :)

  37. seo danışmanlığı says:

    thansk your Just ignore the selling point at the beginning I agree that building a good relationship living while you’re sharing more about who

    thansk

  38. Mr. Dawud you gave me an idea of getting more good relationship with others. With this you added my idea on working good relationship towards others. Thanks for sharing….

  39. Inchirieri Masini says:

    Is like in love. When you are inlove with something, like a car, a cat, or whatever. the relationship itself gets more important than anything

  40. I think it’s very important to remember our own experiences as consumers; what we’ve liked or not liked.

  41. There’s tons of ways to market and sell products. Yet most of them are about me – the business owner. A handful are about the ubiquitous ‘target market.’

  42. I agree that building a good relationship living while you’re sharing more about who..

  43. Чай says:

    I think that when it is up to the business part it has to do all with our culture. In the Eastern countries it is hardly to do straight business with a stranger. On the first meeting you have to build a relationship and to prove to your prospect partner your honesty, your credo and so on. On the first meeting you would rarely talk over business. It is more likely going to be in informal environment – a restaurant, bar, park. Once you gain the respect of your prospect partner, only then you’ll go further to do business.
    To me with the blogs the story is the same. If the blogger can demonstrate only his professionalism, but not his/her personal qualities I’m likely to not follow that blog.

  44. I’ve recently built a lot of blogs for customers. I agree that building a good relationship is vitally important.

  45. yarış oyunları says:

    I think it’s very important to remember our own experiences as consumers…

  46. Yes,I agree that building a good relationship living while you’re sharing more about who..Grettings…

  47. Crina Inchirieri says:

    It seems that your friend just want to create blog to develop her business without creating relationship…We need more sites like this

  48. I think blog is not building business only but creating relationship because in that way you can create prospective clients in the future in terms of referrals..

  49. Just work on building trust and relationship.. The rest will come..

  50. People everywhere prefer to doing business with the ones they know and like. So, if we can make ourselves familiar to them, they will prefer to buy from us.

  51. esenyurt says:

    So true. I think it’s very important to remember our own experiences as consumers; what we’ve liked or not liked. Then we can correct those same issues in our own business.

  52. I always try my services before offering them to somebody else. Remembering our experiences as consumers is indeed very important.

  53. While its true that sometime people focus on relationships too much and forget the marketing – don’t forget – relationship marketing is still about building long term relationships. It is about keeping people around long enough so that you can beg for money until pigs fly – not just once and then have them get sick of you and never talk to you again.

  54. I don’t own a business (yet) but one thing that I have learned in my experience with people (working in the marketing sector especially) is that people are not just names or numbers. They are more than that obviously and establishing a relationship of trust, I’d say, is essential, particularly when our aim is to convert them into clients.

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